Wednesday, January 9

Our Missouri Homeschool Record Keeping

First, our homeschool situation/why we chose to homeschool.

Tristian enjoying a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Activity
Trisitan turned 5 in June last summer, so this would have normally been his kindergarten year, and he would have been one of if not the youngest kindergartener in his class. He would have certaintly been the smallest at the average size of a just over 3 year old when he turned 5, and that was after being on growth hormone for a year. Tristian has some symptoms of autism or aspergers and some medical conditions (that are sooo much better then they use to be). At first we were considering putting him in a public or Catholic school. However he was way past the kindergarten learning (at the time of enrollment for the public system here Tristian was reading chapter books alone and doing addition and subtraction in his head). We looked at the whole situation and decided that we didn't feel a normal school situation, nor placing him ahead in grades, would have been the best option for Tristian at the time and chose to homeschool.

Tristian could have easily started on a 2nd grade curriculum, but I was worried that if we did that there might be a learning blocks he'd miss that would cause problems later. So our solution was to use a 1st grade curriculum, do everything in it... but also go farther on stuff that he can. That means we add in extra math, reading and social studies mostly. We also tend to go more in depth in science then is called for in the curriculum. So that he is still around peers regularly he's enrolled in 2 physical education classes during most the school year (Swimming and Tae Kwon Do) as well as being enrolled in Catechism class at our church. It's not a perfect system by any means- but we are confident that over all this is a better situation and fit for Tristian then if we had tried to figure something out within a school system at this time.

Homeschool in Missouri

In Missouri there are a few different things you have to track and requirements you must meet for doing school at home. You have to keep a plan or diary book showing your curriculum. You also have to keep track of core hours (reading, language arts, math, social studies, science) that are completed at the primary residence and outside the primary residence. You must have at least 600 core hours per school year. At least 400 of those core hours must be at the primary residence. You must have at least 1000 total school hours per year. The remaining hours after core hours can be any sort of elective (physical education, religion, cooking, art, etc..) You also must keep examples of the child's work throughout the year and a record of evaluation.

The way we've decided to meet these requirements are:

Plan or Diary Book- For our base curriculum we use the Learn at Home Grade 1 curriculum from School Specialty Publishing, which has a pre-planned schedule for each week. So I only keep a diary of what we actually do (including supplementation) by tracking it in a teacher planning book each day for each subject.



Everything else record wise is kept in one binder.

Tracking Hours- I track hours daily in each subject on one sheet for each week. Then I also have a sheet (front and back) that tracks hours weekly for the entire year. It is on the year tracking sheet where I record the core hour requirements for each week.



Examples of Work- We keep two examples of work per month per subject, where possible. The 'where possible' is in there because of physical education. Which is a little harder to define what's an example of work in. So what I've done for that is a sheet each month with pictures of Tristian participating in a physical education class and a copy of the receipt for the class(es).

 

Record of Evaluation- The homeschool laws in Missouri leave this pretty open. So for our first year I went a pretty easy route. I looked up the national requirements for Kindergarten and First Grade (which were harder to find and figure out then they really should be imo) then I just went through testing Tristian to see what he could do compared to what he should be able to do by the end of 1st grade and made notes. We did it again at 18 weeks and will do it again at the end of the school year at 36 weeks. I'll admit I felt a little guilty about that, because he could do nearly everything already. But it is what it is.

I keep two copies of the binder with the hours tracked and examples of work. One stays in our home and one stays out of the home. That's probably not really necessary- it's just me being overly prepared in case something ever happened like a fire so that I wasn't also stressing over not being able to meet the legal requirements of proving homeschooling after something bad had just happened anyways.

*Disclaimer* This is just an explanation of what we do, nothing more.... If you are looking into homeschooling in Missouri you should really look at getting the First Things First handbook from FHE (Families for Home Education).

4 comments:

  1. WOW! Your state has some REALLY strict guidelines! Here in Ontario, Canada it's much more lax. Essentially all you do is write the school board a letter stating that you are going to homeschool your child and that is that. There's always the potential of being audited, but there is no real guidelines in terms of proving hours or curriculum.

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    1. It is kinda strict (and overwhelming sometimes trying to sort of examples and whatnot) but there is a very important line in the Missouri laws that many states don't have. If I can furnish this evidence it is proof against all prosecution dealing with homeschooling. Point blank. Many of the states don't have that as part of their laws. So it's sorta a silver lining type thing. The extra booking keeping kinda sucks, but the peace of mind is nice =)

      It would be nice to have a more lax situation. I would love to be able to unschool Tris, but the law states the curriculum plan must be able to show your curriculum meets grade requirements, and I think that would sorta be hard with unschooling lol.

      Are there a lot of other homeschool parents around your area?

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